©1992 Andrew Rothwell; (P)2005 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Although I enjoyed two other novels by Emile Zola (Nana and The Gin Palace), I found this novel grotesque, repetitive, and tedious. Also, the translator uses the words "grimace" and "lugubrious" so many times I wanted to shout. The narrator's British accent also annoyed me - I rarely complain about any narrator. All in all, I was bored by this novel.
"A Grim Tale"
This was the book that put Emile Zola on the map and was written before he embarked on the twenty books which made up the Rougon Macquart series.
As is typical of Zola the tale is not an uplifting one and is dark in tone. If you like this book I would try some of his later works, which, although not usually uplifting, are not as grim as this book, for example Germinal, L'Assomoir, or Money.
"Excruciating experience, eloquently evoked"
This is an emotional roller-coaster. Not recommended for those of a sensitive temperament. A descent into madness, spoken with clarity and aplomb by the narrator. We cover the entire life of Therese, and really get inside her head; but it's the character of Laurent that is the main protagonist, and his indulgences and paranoia fuel the story, that leads us from an emotional and erotic intensity, through a descent into depravity and uncompromising debauchery. Delightfully crafted, and almost unlistenably destructive. Probably not to be recommended for couples going through an emotional crisis!
"Zola ? Naturalism?s Zenith"
If you have not dipped into Zola before, or if like me you remember the 1970?s BBC2 adaptation that caught the imagination of the British public, then this is a famously good read ? which you are sure to enjoy. The perfect crime is constructed perfectly and we watch as a four-hander becomes a three-hander in a way that has never been bettered. Zola?s aim was to capture sentiments rather than characters ? but the reader reflects on the ?what-if?s? played out in their own circumstances. Anyone who has ever considered murdering their husband and running off with that hunk with a twinkle in his eye might find this a salutary read.
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